Q. What types of medical leaves are protected under the FMLA?
A. Covered employees can take medical leaves for a "serious health condition." The definition of a serious health condition is complicated, but it includes most conditions that either:
- Require an overnight hospital stay, or
- Last more than three days, and (a) require more than one doctor's visit, (b) require at least one doctor's visit and continuing treatment such as physical therapy or prescription medication, or (c) are chronic, and involve extended periods of incapacity or treatment.
A. The Family & Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") allows eligible employees to take time off to care for an immediate family member who has a serious health condition. Depending on the circumstances, this can include helping take an immediate family member to a doctor's appointment, helping care for them at home, or providing them comfort and support needed because of their serious health condition.
Q. Who is considered an "immediate family member" under the FMLA?
A. An immediate family member means your spouse, parent, or child.
Q. Does the FMLA give me the right to take time off while I am pregnant?
A. Expecting mothers can take time off if they have a pregnancy-related condition or complication that meets the FMLA's definition of a serious health condition.
Q. What types of maternity and paternity leave are available under the FMLA?
A. New parents can take a maternity or paternity leave to bond with their new child during the first 12 months after birth or adoption of a child, or for the placement of a foster child.
Q. Do I have to take all of my FMLA leave at the same time?
A. Not necessarily. Under certain circumstances you can take an FMLA leave "intermittently" or on a "reduced leave schedule." An intermittent FMLA leave is when you take off blocks of time. A reduced leave schedule is when you use the FMLA to reduce the number of hours you work per week or per day, such as taking time off for doctors' appointments or physical therapy.
Last week, we answered Frequently Asked Questions about FMLA Basics. Next month, we will discuss Frequently Asked Questions about Requesting an FMLA Leave, and Reinstatement and Remedies under the FMLA.